September 6, 2003

MIT's men's cross country team debuted in the 2003 season with a sweep over the alumni at Franklin Park. With 75 degree temperatures keeping things somewhat comfortable, Ben Schmeckpeper led the way from the start with a 25:53 effort to easily win the race.

It is always a surprise who among the "Has Beens" will show up to run in the annual varsity-alumni race that kicks off the start of the cross country season. Usually, there are other surprises that have to do with the course, such as no electricity to run the computers, the portable toilet does not show up, some other sports event is going on somewhere on the course, or a neighborhood party is taking place on the starting line. What is not expected is for a fire to start in an area adjacent to the course, but then again, we should not be surprised. While watching the women's race, one of the alumnae said she saw a fire developing over by "Bear Cage Hill". Coach Taylor along with a former women's team member found the small brush fire and put it out before it got out of hand.

As the race started, everyone let Schmeckpeper go, conceding the victory to the All America runner. Brian Anderson, John Brewer, Fivos Constantinou and Eric Khatchadourian followed about ten seconds back at the mile mark along with alumni, Ethan Crain '95, Bob Collins '82 and Craig Wildman '03. By the end of the third mile, it was apparent the alumni would not be able to compete with the four MIT runners, but with Constantinou falling back to an achilles injury, it seemed Crain and Collins would be able to prevent a varsity sweep.

In the final mile, freshman Kevin Brulois continued his move into the top five with a 5:03 effort for mile five to finish in 27:05. Brulois moved up nearly 20 seconds on the leaders (with the exception of Schmeckpeper) over the final two miles. Anderson had a great start to the season, running 26:43 to finish second. Khatchadourian ran an outstanding race despite dry heaving over the last 1/2 mile. Khatchadourian placed third with a time of 26:46. Brewer, running healthy for the first time in his collegiate cross country career, finished fourth with a personal best of 26:55.

Freshmen finished 5th (Brulois), 6th (Spencer Dudley), 7th (Robert Bryant), 8th (Kevin DiGenova) and 10th (Sam Berberian) within the team, all within a minute of each other. With Steve Maltas and Carlos Renjifo out indefinitely with injuries sustained during the summer, the good group of freshmen may not be enough to make a difference in 2003, but certainly in 2004 and beyond.

Other alumni who participated were, Sean Montgomery, Ryan Peoples, John Biesiadecki and Rob Casadonte. Alumni present and cheering, but not racing, were Liyan Guo, Chris McGuire, Chuck Van Buren and Sean Nolan.

Next week, MIT hosts the Engineer's Cup at Franklin Park against RPI and WPI at 2:00.